So, I was in a bargain shop the other day and was glancing through the books, when a bright book cover caught my eye. I thought to myself, “Hey, that looks kind of Indian!” I dug a little deeper (not an easy thing to do when you have a baby hanging on for dear life in one hand and balancing a purse on the other shoulder!) Anyway, I found the book and flipped it over to check it out… sure enough the book jacket promised that it would be a tale of arranged marriages set smack in the middle of India. The book was deeply discounted, which was too tempting, I took the risk and brought it home with me.
It didn’t sit on my shelf too long, I started reading it that night after Miss A went to bed. It did not take long for me to get sucked into the plot.
The Marriage Bureau for Rich People is first in a light and fun series by Farahad Zama. It is set in modern day India and tells the story of Mr. Ali, a newly retired man with too much time on his hands. It is witty and funny at times and the characters are well developed. Mr. Ali, a Muslim, decides to start a marriage bureau from his front verranda. He soon finds success and has more business than he can handle alone. Enter Aruna, a sweet Hindu girl with amazing organizational abilities, who becomes very valuable to Mr. & Mrs. Ali and the bureau. Farahad Zama weaves in several characters who become customers of the marriage bureau. Add in a tale of forbidden love and Mr. & Mrs. Ali’s own son who is a political activist (against their wishes) and lots of Indian culture, and you get a plot that makes for very entertaining reading!
What marks the sign of a good book? I didn’t want to put it down, but at the same time I didn’t want it to end! Thank goodness Mr. Zama has planned ahead and written 3 more installments in the series. Although I found the first book in the series at a discount shop by chance, I’m planning to order the next installments in the series from Amazon – I want to find out what happens next!
1. The Marriage Bureau for Rich People (2009)
2. The Many Conditions of Love (2009)
3. Not All Marriages are Made in Heaven (2010)
4. The Road to Happiness (coming later in 2011)
In this lavishly illustrated companion to his BBC TV series, Michael Wood weaves a spellbinding narrative out of the 10,000-year history of India. Home today to more than a fifth of the world’s population, the subcontinent gave birth to the oldest and most influential civilization on Earth, to four world religions, and to the world’s largest democracy. Now, as India bids to become a global giant, Michael sets out to trace the roots of India’s present in the incredible riches of her past.
From the Khyber Pass and the Himalayas to the tropical jungles of India’s Deep South, this original and striking survey of Indian history provides vivid portraits of India’s regions and cultures, and new insights into some of history’s greatest figures: the Buddha and Ashoka, Samudragupta and Akbar the Great, Nehru and Gandhi. It explores the ways in which Indian ideas and inventions have shaped the history of the world, and shows how some of ancient India’s conclusions about the nature of civilization have lost none of their relevance for our own times.
When DH and I returned to India this year for a visit, I picked up a copy of the book, A Princess Remembers, by Gayatri Devi. I have always been fascinated with “Princely India” – the period in history before Independence (1947) when much of the country was ruled by Maharajas. Gayatri Devi, Rajmata of Jaipur, is not only one of the most famous Maharanis in all of India, but she has been hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful women. She has lived an amazing life…
She was born in 1919 into royalty – her father ruled Cooch Behar, and her mother’s parents were the rulers of Baroda. She eventually married Sawai Man Singh II, the maharaja of Jaipur. Although she was his third wife, theirs was a love marriage. In her autobiography, she tells of her carefree childhood, how she fell in love with her husband and the many memorable events in her life. This book is an inspiration.
Personally, having had the chance to actually visit Jaipur and ride an elephant up to one of the places where the Maharaja lived helped the book come alive even more! Gayatri Devi has had many accomplishments in her lifetime, but what stood out to me was the way in which she handled herself with dignity and grace in every circumstance.